Advisor to the US President, Ivanka Trump and wife of former British Prime Minister Cherie Blair on Wednesday urged delegates at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to adopt technology to boost women entrepreneurship.
At a plenary session on innovation in workforce development and skill training, both highlighted the gender gap in work force. “India has one of the lowest rates of female labour participation in world. This is a huge potential gap”, Mrs Blair said.
Both women spoke strongly about this issue and also about creating and nurturing an ecosystem to provide equal opportunities for women to work on their entrepreneurial skills. The central theme of this edition of the GES is women entrepreneurship.
“Technology is a great driver in entrepreneurship because it emboldens women to start their own businesses. This also helps in reducing barriers to embark on their own businesses and creates flexibility in the modern day working family”, Ms Trump said to an audience who heard her in rapt attention. She stressed, “Having diversity is better business. It is therefore the fiscal responsibility of businesses to their shareholders to balance the gender gap in the labour force”.
Mrs Blair, who heads the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, explained how she used to balance her job as an attorney and the responsibilities that come being the wife of the Prime Minister. She attributed it to technology.
She said that women would prove that they are superior to men if they get access to technology. “We have to find solutions to enable women do better at what they do without giving up on their enterprises. The three things that women entrepreneurs need to flourish are capacity, confidence and capital. It is all about choice and diversity”, she said. ICICI Bank managing director and CEO Ms Chanda Kochar said that women were making it to the top of the corporate world but lamented that less than a quarter of the women graduates make it to the workforce in India.
“When you educate a man, you educate an individual. When you educate a woman, you educate a generation. In India, 40 per cent of the banking sector is headed by women. In our bank, out of the 1 lakh trained under the skill training initiative, 55 per cent are women”, she said.